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Forced to rethink a career change

Question :

Hi Doc

Could you please write me a prescription for my Hong Kong Blues? I WAS a steady Advertising  copywriter(English)for 7 years back in India before I made the daft decision to move to Hong Kong. I was prepared to start from scratch and yes I did...washing dishes on Hollywood Road for a while for which I never got paid. I then worked for a telecommunications company which was nice except that I never got to talk to any of my colleagues throughout my tenure there simply because I could not speak the local language. Who ever said that Hong Kong is an International city must certainly be dreaming. I now work in Marketing in a company that's trying to get rid of non-Chinese speakers which is why I worry. I have a wife and a Kid to support and it's heart-breaking to experience Hong Kong this way. I have a clear, concise cv but most jobs advertised require that we speak Cantonese or Mandarin. I am finding it really hard to find anything of substance. I'm 33 years old and really need some advice on the Advertising industry or Radio or creative, fun jobs. Any help, suggestions or advice would be much appreciated. If anyone's read this, I sincerely Thank you for your time! I've  not given up...I just need a shove in the right direction. Thanks a bunch!

Posted by Alvin on Monday, 30 Dec 2013

Comments :

Mark Enticott - Career Doctor

Posted Saturday 18th January 2014 12:35:00 AM


It sounds like you are going through a frustrating period in your job search. In the last few years, I have noticed a trend with companies having a great focus on hiring people who speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin especially within the Banking & Financial Services sectors. If you are looking at roles in the Commerce & Industry sector it is not uncommon for companies to require relevant language skills. I would recommend that if an advertisement states clearly that they want Cantonese and/or Mandarin speakers, do not apply for the position. No one looks to receive communication from a company to say their application has been unsuccessful. I would therefore recommend you take a step back and identify the sectors and potential companies that you believe you can work in and then focus your job search on those areas. Apart from applying for roles online I would also recommend that you network with groups relevant to your areas of interest and skill set. Networking is a great way to connect with people who might know of opportunities or people that can assist you with your job search. The third area for you to consider is to ensure you only apply for roles relevant to your skill set. Sometimes people who have been searching for a position for a period of time get frustrated and apply for roles at more junior levels. Companies are not comfortable recruiting people who have considerably more skills than the vacant position. There are a range of reasons why, especially because the individual might leave when a better opportunity comes up. Finally, it is very important that you do your best to stay positive. When you are interviewing, it is easy for the interviewer to identify positive people and those people who are not sending out positive vibes. Ultimately a company wants to recruit positive people who are going to inject additional energy into the business.

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